Orthodox Africa is dedicated to facilitating Orthodox missions in Kenya and their desire to inform the world of the work that God is doing in the building up of the Orthodox Church in Kenya.
In the fall of 2015, our founder and director, Fr. Silouan (Brown) began thinking of ways that he could personally help the different Orthodox missions in Africa. He soon realized that many scams were operating out of that area, and it was difficult – if not impossible – for the average person to know which cries for help were legitimate and which were not.
It was in light of this realization that Fr. Silouan decided to contact an Orthodox mission in Kenya which had been previously visited by another Orthodox missionary. But what could he do to help?
Fr. Silouan knew he did not have the money to help personally, but he realized that, being in the United States, we are uniquely blessed to have certain resources that are not always readily available in Kenya: Computers, internet access, and other technological tools to help raise awareness for the missions in Africa.
Fr. Silouan decided that the best way he could help the missions was to help them tell their stories to the world by building a simple website. So he got together with a small team of volunteers, and the original Orthodox Africa website was built.
In the intervening year, the organization has grown beyond Fr. Silouan’s wildest dreams.
Fr. Silouan has traveled to Kenya and seen the baptisms of dozens of faithful children and adults, met with priests and their wives, given catechetical talks to children, assisted with feeding programs, and been part of the lives of these missions.
The African missions have solidified into a team in Kenya with a board of directors, and the American volunteers have increased and also solidified into a team led by a board of directors.
Orthodox Africa, USA is currently seeking to incorporate as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization by early 2017.
Currently, we support three missions in Kenya: St. Barnabas Orphanage and School, St. Irene Orthodox Mission Center, and St. Tabitha House (Orphanage). It is our goal to help them achieve long-term sustainability in their missions.
ABOUT OUR LOGO
The original photo that became the design concept for our logo was taken during Fr. Silouan’s trip to Kenya. One of Fr. Silouan’s goddaughters placed her hand in his, and this photograph was taken. Fr. Silouan and his goddaughter say that this picture shows how “we are one body – different colors, different ethnic backgrounds, but we’re all one in Christ.”
This picture and the message it portrays – of our unity despite our differences – has become a rallying cry for us at Orthodox Africa. The love of Christ is universal, and our love for one another in our missions and teams is unique and special and bridges distance, economic, ethnic, and linguistic barriers and makes us the family that we are. We are one in Christ – one body, and one family, united by the love of Christ, the Church, and the children we support.
Orthodox Africa is committed to helping specifically Orthodox missions in Africa. We seek to assist in serving the vulnerable members of the communities where we have been asked to serve.
Presently, we are working with missions in Kenya which serve as schools and orphanages. Our missions currently include:
- Saint Barnabas Orthodox Orphanage and School, South Kinangpop, Kenya (Nairobi Diocese)
- Saint Irene Orthodox Mission Center, South Kinangpop, Kenya (Nairobi Diocese)
- Saint Tabitha House (Orphanage), Kisumu, Kenya (Kisumu Diocese)
- Saint Innocent Academy, Kapsabet, Nandi County, Kenya (Kisumu Diocese)
We look forward to the opportunity to add more missions in the future.
At its inception, Orthodox Africa was concerned with vetting missions. Our members have all had an ongoing interest in missions in Africa for years, but, with the onslaught of pleas for help, they struggled to determine which missions were legitimate, Orthodox missions, and which pleas were, to be frank, scams.
For this reason, one of the primary goals of Orthodox Africa has been thoroughly vetting each of the missions we serve.
This means that:
- Financial records and transactions are transparent, shared with the board members of both countries.
- Missions are vetted with the hierarchy of the area in which they are located.
- Before they are included in our campaigns, an American board member personally spends time on location, in Kenya, at the mission.
- If there is any doubt about the legitimacy or transparency of the missions, they will not be included.
- If, after inclusion, there is any question of the legitimacy or transparency of the missions, we will work with the missions on an action plan to resolve any issues in order to maintain inclusion. If the action plan is not maintained, the mission will be removed (“excluded”) from our network.
- No member of Orthodox Africa will publicly recommend funding any mission that has been excluded from our network without risking suspension or expulsion from the organization. We will never ask you to donate to ANYONE we don’t donate to out of our own pockets.
American Board of Directors
- Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen) – Spiritual Director
- Father Silouan (Brown) – Director of Orthodox Africa, Chairman of the Board
- Maria Powell – Assistant Director, Vice-Chair of the Board
- Andrea Hollander – Secretary of the Board
- Olga Grogan – Treasurer
Kenyan Board of Directors
- Father Methodious Kariuki – Chairman
- Father Constantinos Muthiru – Secretary
- Father Agapios Lipesa – Treasurer
- Cherie LeClair – Founding Contributor, Chairman of Committee for Nonprofit Structure
- Matushka Michelle Fenn – Chairman, Committee for Grant Research
- Oxana Chumak-Strianese – Russian Translation and Fundraising
- Papadia Dora Airo-Lipesa
- Papadia Everyln Kariuki
- Papadia Teresa Muthiru-Jepchumba
We offer our special thanks and heartfelt best wishes to Elaine King. Elaine has chaired multiple committees, spearheaded several integral projects, and been a valued member of the team. We send her to her new career with our heartfelt thanks and congratulations.